A day after announcing that she had stopped all cancer treatment, Elizabeth Edwards, who has publicly personified hope and courage, is characteristically taking charge of her final days.
After posting a comforting message to friends and family on Facebook, the world is now offering its own words of comfort to the 61-year-old Edwards.
Thousands have tweeted words of compassion. Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, wrote, "Elizabeth Edwards is in my prayers." Cancer survivor and friend Lance Armstrong told Edwards, "Hang in there Elizabeth...you are loved by many."
The loved ones of Edwards have flocked to be by her side, including estranged husband and one-time presidential hopeful, John Edwards.
Friends tell ABC News that Edwards took a turn for the worse starting in October when she received a worrying MRI.
Just a month earlier, in September, Edwards made two public appearances. She appeared at a Stand Up To Cancer event in Los Angeles, saying, "Cancer doesn't care if you have young children."
She also appeared on the Nate Berkus Show.
In November, Edwards's health deteriorated further. Over Thanksgiving, she was so weak that she had to be briefly hospitalized.
ABC News medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said that Edwards's cancer, which has now spread to her liver, has reached a point where medicine will be of little help.
"When breast cancer occurs in parts of the body, it's no longer curable, but treatable," Besser said. "You eventually reach the point....where there's things medicine can do to you, but not for you."
In 2007, shortly after announcing that her cancer had returned and it was now terminal, Edwards told ABC News that she would continue to battle her disease.
"My job is to stay alive long enough for the medicine to outrun me. And I'm not going to be unnecessarily bullied or unnecessarily depressed," Edwards said.
It seems that the disease has outrun the medicine.
"Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive," said a statement released by Edwards' family Monday. "She is resting at home with family and friends."
A friend told ABC News that the environment at the house was warm and peaceful. The mood was sad, but also full of warm feelings too.
The friend said Elizabeth is not in pain, and is at peace with what is happening. The friend said that the children of Edwards -- 28-year-old Cate, 12-year-old Emma Claire and her youngest and 10-year-old Jack -- are doing ok.
Edwards's hinting of her impending death on her Facebook page sent a jolt to those close to her and to the public, because Edwards has always seemed defined by an other worldly strength.
The Facebook message thanked her friends and family.
"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope," she wrote. "These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined."
"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human," wrote Edwards.